Comedy Reflection

In Drama class, we learnt about comedy and we made our own comedy routine that incorporates all of what we learnt. We learnt many comedy techniques, tricks, and facts about comedy in class. However we also had two visitors. From these visitors there were many more things that we learnt. Using these knowledge and through different influences, we made our own character and, in small groups we made a comedy routine each.

There were many things that influenced the development of my character. The first influence was from Phillipe. In his lesson, he taught me about different walks; closed, open, and parallel. Since my character is an introverted character, I developed the closed walk into my character. The second influence was from activities we did in class. An example is when we worked on the walks in class. I learned to walk small steps each time for my an introverted character. Another example is from when we worked on the tricks, where I learned the table cloth pulling trick. I really enjoyed doing this, so I developed that into my character. From classes, I also learned about exaggeration to make people laugh. The last influence was from my own personality. I am already a little bit introverted to start with. Therefore, I exaggerated this and made my character a super introverted bumbling person.

We got many feedbacks from many people but, some of the feedbacks we got were not positive. An example feedback was that our comedy routine was not very funny. Since our comedy routine was repetitive, not active and not exaggerated, Ms. Erickson suggested that we do all of our movements more exaggerated and active. I tried to pur my head more into my book to make myself a more bookworm. We also made our plot so that I accidentally win the whole competition for different reasons such as sneezing. From Rene, we got the feedback that the table cloth pulling trick was not put in the routine the right way, the way that made sense. So we also tried to incorporate the table cloth pulling technique into our routine so that it will not be strange. We did this by making table cloth pulling trick a part of the audition. However we tried to do all of these, but found that our comedy routine was not funny. Therefore in the end, we changed our whole play into a completely different story. In the new story the setting is in a restaurant and I am a bumbling waitress.

I found this comedy unit very interesting. The things that I found interesting were not only the drama techniques that we learnt and Phillip’s and Rene’s visits. I also found the history, the types of comedy and tricks of making people laugh, interesting. Through this, I learnt how making people laugh is a very hard thing to do and it made me appreciate comedy more.

History of Comedy

Ancient Comics: (Around 800 BCE – 753 BCE)

Ancient Comedy

Comedy is said to have originated from rituals, such as Phallic processions, performed for the Greek God of vegetation, Dionysus.These comedies were called the “Old Comedy” and according to Evolution of Comedy, it was a mix of “farce, fantasy, satire, and parody, the series ending in a lyrical celebration of unity”. After the “Old Comedy”, “New Comedy” was born and the “New Comedy” was more about romance and less sarcastic or critical. However since comedy was for making people laugh, it was not taken seriously, so the origin of comedy is not defined. In Ancient Greek, Aristotle thought “that it first took shape in Megaris and Sicyon, whose people were noted for their coarse humor and sense of the ludicrous” (Origin of Comedy). Aristotle believed that comedy was a positive impact on the society but there were others like Plato who thought it was a negative impact and preferred tragedy over comedy. Comedy was very popular among Athenians and in 425 BCE, Aristophanes wrote many comedies.When the Romans took over Greece, a Roman version of comedy was born. In Roman comedy, everything was set in Rome, not Athens, and Roman dramatists adapted it so that it fits the Roman culture. It was not only Greeks and Romans who had comedy. Ancient Egyptians has comedy as well, though it was different from Greek and Roman comedy. Egyptian comedy was more religious and royal. As you can see there was comedy from old time, even though it was not taken seriously at the time.

Medieval Comics: (476 AD – 16th Century)

Medieval Court Jester

In Medieval times, churches tried to keep the comedy to minimum, but it was still performed in festivals and ceremonies and survived for the next period, Renaissance. In Medieval times, by the 14th century, more clowns and Court Jesters started to appear, as the records start getting better. Court Jesters were people who provided amusement to households and Royal families. In Egypt, there were people whose job was to entertain the Royal family, who imitated Egyptian Gods. These people were start of clowns. In Rome, there were many types of clowns. Sannio, a clown who did not wear any masks and who made people laugh with their funny body and face. Stupidus, who made people laugh with mimicking and was famous for slapsticks. Scurra was good at jesting while Moriones, Stulti and Fatui were funny for their retardedness. As you can see, these Court Jester and clowns were main parts of Medieval comedy.

Renaissance Comics: (14th Century – 17th Century)
In Renaissance times, a new type of comedy, called realistic comedy, was born. It was a mix of Latin comedy and comedy developed by John Heywood. This comedy was mainly expressed in plays by Ben Johnson and William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was very good at writing tragicomedy plays as well as romance comedy plays. On the other hand Heywood wrote plays that were more classical. During this time, there was another type of comedy called Commedia dell Arte, which originated in Italy. This is a comedy with masked characters who improvise their dialogues. This later influenced France to the pantomime comedy. In 17th century, a classical comedy and Commedia dell Arte combined together to make a play called Molière. Renaissance was a period in which new types of comedy was born and when comedy started to get popular.

Commedia dell Arte

Melodramatic Comics: (18th Century – 19th Century)

A melodramatic drama is a drama in which the plot and the characters are exaggerated to appeal to emotions, using stereotypes. It was written in 18th to 19th century and was usually accompanied by music. It is also centred on the idea of good vs. evil. It was the most written theatre in 19th century and was very popular by 1840. In melodramatic comedy there were 6 characters called stock characters and they were the hero, the villain, the heroine, an aged parent, a sidekick and a servant. These characters were used in plots of murder and love. Melodrama is still present in the present day.

Circus Comics: (18th Century)

Circus is a performance of acrobatics, comedy, and equestrian, which has existed since 18th Century. The first ever circus to be performed was by Philip Astley in London. In circus, there are clowns, whose job is to entertain the audience and to make them laugh. There are three basic types of clowns in circus: the whiteface clown, the auguste and the character clown. Circus clowns perform gags. As more people went to and performed in circuses, more types of circus comedy and more types of clowns were born.

Cinematic Comics: (20th Century)
Cinematic comics are films that focuses on the humour part. These films are to amuse and entertain the audience and it is made funny by using exaggeration of real life characters. It started with silent films. Silent films are films without any words used, and therefore it is a comedy of physical action, such as slapsticks. An example of a silent film is “City Lights”. Famous comedians from this time are Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Charlie Chaplin is a comedian, silent actor and pantomimist. He is very famous. There are many classics from Charlie Chaplin such as “The Tramp”, “The Floorwalker” and “The Kid”. Buster Keaton was famous for his “stoneface” and acrobatic gags. His works include “The Butcher Boy” and “One Week”. Harold Lloyd was a popular silent clown who was called the “third genius” after Chaplin and Keaton. Some of his works are “Just Nuts” and “Safety Last”. After silent films, T.V comedy shows became popular. An example of that is Mr. Bean.

 

Citation:

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Informercial

How could you grow as a public speaker?

There were many things that I learnt to grow as a better public speaker. The first thing I leaned is that eye contact is very important. It is not just to see the audience but it is to catch the audience’s attention. If you are looking at them, the audiences are more likely to pay you the attention you want. The second is that I need to act. You have to act confident, even if you are not. You have to act as if you meant it, even if you make a mistake. The last is that I need to be energetic. Loud voice, happy expression and so on. These will not only catch the audiences’ attention but they are more likely to like it. By doing these, I think that I would be able to improve more as a better public speaker.

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There are many opportunities outside of drama to do a public speaking. For example in my GIN CAS. There were times when I had to talk in front of people regarding my service action, such as in assembly and in Red and White Concert. Another example is in other subjects. I did a presentation or speech in individuals and societies and Japanese. Therefore, before the next time I talk in front of people I would like to be a better public speaker.

Persuasive Speech

I did a persuasive speech on junk food in drama class. There were many things that I felt before and during the speech. Before the speech I was nervous but as I started and continued, I felt more confident. I also think that the palm cards really helped me. While I was doing the speech, there were times when I forgot the word and got lost, but I looked at the palm card and got the idea of what I was talking about. There were also things that I did well and things that I could improve on. Firstly, I think that I was able to maintain eye contact with the audience. I tried to look at the audience and only look at the palm cards when necessary. Secondly, I think I was able to organise the speech well, with intro, key points and conclusion. However there are many things that I could improve on and these are, to project my voice, to flow the speech more consistently and pronunciation of words. I think my voice was a little small at first and could have been projected more. To flow my speech more consistently, I could practice more so I know exactly what I will say and don’t get lost. Lastly to pronounce words more clearly, I could also practice more.

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There are many times and events in my life that I could use persuasive speech in my life. For example in job interviews. I would have to persuade the instructor why I should get the job. Also, persuasive speech can be used when raising an awareness about an issue. I would have to tell people how that issue is an issue that must be fixed and tell them how it can be fixed. I would have to be very persuasive so that people will understand and help the issue the way they can. As you can see, there are many times and events in my life when I can use persuasive speech.

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There were many things that I learnt about persuasive speech in this unit. I learnt that knowing how to structure my speech is one of most useful and important thing for speech. This is because the structure of a speech can make the speech more persuasive, and easy to follow and understand. If the structure was not well constructed, the speech will be jumping from one point to another and that will confuse the audience. I also learnt that it is important to be able to present my speech well. There will be a lot of difference between presenting my speech confidently and presenting  it unconfidently. The audience will not listen or be persuaded by people who are not confident. The presenter must be persuaded himself/herself and act confident even if he/she wasn’t and don’t show even made a mistake. By making a good speech and presenting it well, the audience will be more persuaded.

Elevator Character Scene

Overall, the elevator assessment went not so bad but not wonderful for my group. There were many ups and downs and there were times when we had different opinions and had a little argument. However, I think that our characters worked well together because each one of us had very different characters and we managed to work well. My character is a business woman who worked in a company and her boss is overly strict with time and fires anyone who was late for work or meetings. Because of having a boss like that, my character is obsessed with time and a little crazy about it. She even counts the seconds and minuets so she would not lose her job. When the elevator stops, she gets depressed because she knows that she is going to be late. When it starts moving, she is very happy to find out that she has around one minutes before her meeting so she runs out of the elevator. I think I was able to show these changes in our scene so I think that it went fine for my character.

 

In the elevator scene I used things that we learned in class. For example, I used stereotype in creating the character. My stereotype of a business woman was that she was very punctual and is always full of scheduled meetings and work. I exaggerated this stereotype and made my character obsessed and crazy with time. I think that I was able to exaggerate enough to show that my character was a little crazy.

I also used displayed attitude in the scene, especially when the elevator stopped and when it started moving. When the elevator stopped, I displayed my attitude that my character was depressed by crouching down and mumbling to herself. When the elevator started moving, I showed that she was happy by standing up quickly and smiling. By displaying attitude, I was able to tell the audience exactly how my character felt at each time and I think that helped the audience understand the scene more.

My character also had motivation which was to be not late for her meeting. I showed this by always checking the time and counting the minutes and seconds. I also tapped my foot when waiting for the elevator and paced around the elevator to show that my character was very obsessed with time.

Finally, I thought of the vocal delivery. When the elevator stopped and my character got depressed, I used small voices. When the elevator started moving and my character got happier, I used bigger voices. Also, when the elevator stopped I used a voice that was pessimistic and negative, and when the elevator started moving, I used an optimistic and positive voice. Thinking about vocal delivery made me think of what exactly my character thought at that time and that helped me understand and make my character.

 

I made a lot of progress during the unit. Before the unit I was very scared of acting in front of an audience. I was embarrassed and I was not good at acting to start with. However as the unit went on, I realised that I did not have to be scared and that everyone was at least a little bit scared, like me. Then I felt like I can do it and I was able to act in front of an audience. I also learnt how to work well together with people. At the start there was a person in my group who I have never been in a group with and I was not sure I would be able to work well together as a team but I was able to work well in the end because I learnt how to collaborate during the unit. There were many challenges I faced during the unit as well. For example, I had to change my character a few times so that I would speak more in the scene. At first I was a student at university, then I was a person who had part time jobs and finally I became the business woman I am now. Another challenge was that my character was so different from me. I am not obsessed with time as much as my character is. It was hard to act someone different from me because I can only imagine what she would feel and do and not know exactly what she would do. Therefore it was hard to act but I think I managed the best I can. Lastly, during the unit, there was some arguments between the group members. It was not anything big, but there were arguments. However we were able to solve everything in the end by talking to each other and coming up with the best solution. I have a lot of places of improvements too. I could have acted better and be more persuasive. My acting was okay but not brilliant so I would like to improve on that. As I look at the video now, I realise that there are many times when I was not looking directly at the audience so I would like to make eye contact with the audience next time. I would also like to use bigger voices because in the video there were places that was hard to hear. Moreover, I would like to be confident or at least look confident. In the scene, I look as I felt, which was a little bit scared, and does not look confident so I would like to improve that as well.

I would like to use the challenges and mistakes that I had during the unit and learn from it so that I would not repeat my mistakes the next time. I would also like to improve on what I have wrote earlier and be a better actor.

Stereotype

What is a stereotype?

A stereotype is an assumption of a particular type of person or a thing. Stereotype can be an assumption on their behaviour, their image, their personality and so on. For example when you think of a cheerleader, most people would imagine a popular pretty girl with blond hair and small figure. This is a stereotype of a cheerleader. However in reality, there are many cheerleader that does not have blond hair, nor small figure. Therefore, a stereotype is not necessarily true but sometimes it can be true.

When are stereotypes useful?

Stereotypes can be useful in any ways. If you were walking on your own around the city and you get called by some stranger, you can use stereotype to decide if he is dangerous or not. If he looked like a stereotype of a dangerous person, you should not interact with them. Also, if you are new to school and have to start make friends, you can use stereotype. For example you can look at people’s clothing, their posture, the way they talk and so on, to see who you want to be friends with. I have done this many times already and sometimes it works but sometimes don’t. So, stereotype can be useful from time to time.

Can you judge a book by its cover?

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover but sometimes don’t. Some books might just have a bad cover but a very good story. Some books might have a very good cover but a bad story. For example, I personally thought that the cover of the book ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien was boring but the story was really good and exciting. This can be said for people too. People might look wired on the outside but could be a type of person you never though he/she would be. I don’t think it is good to judge people by appearance and avoid them if you don’t even know what type of person they are. However there are some exceptions though.

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